Dear Mormon, can you guess who said the following?
I saw two spirits… One was God my maker, almost in bodily shape like a man… below him stood Jesus Christ my Redeemer, in perfect shape like a man…
. . . the angel had made known to me in the vision, that all Churches and Denominations on the earth had became corrupt . . .
He also told me, that every denomination of professing Christians had become extremely corrupt . . .
1). Norris Stearns in 1815
2). Solomon Chamberlain in 1816
3). Asa Wild in 1823
It appears that tales of heavenly visitations were quite popular around Joseph Smith’s time. Remember, Joseph Smith claimed to have had his first vision in 1820 although the earliest account wasn’t penned until twelve years later, in 1832.
For more on Joseph Smith’s “borrowing of ideas” (plagiarizing) the first vision, visit Mormon Handbook where they reveal these early texts that Joseph Smith likely used for his version of heavenly visitations.
The fellows at Mormon Handbook also accurately observe that since there were so many of these similar tales being told before Joseph Smith came up with his, that:
“Either God was trying to restore the true Christian church to dozens throughout New England or Joseph’s tale is a copy-cat among many.”
The reality that Joseph Smith lied about his encounter with heavenly beings is virtually proven when you consider that he told several conflicting accounts of his supposed visitation and it took many years before Mormonism actually settled on an “official” version.
The Various First Visions of Joseph Smith
Which Version of the First Vision Do You Believe?
The more one studies Mormonism, the more one is convinced it is a deception and this is why I always encourage people who really want to know the truth about Mormonism (both Mormons and non-Mormons), to study the historical writings of the organization all the way back to its founding. And in the above example, even before it was founded.
I’d also like to see Mormons explain the plagiarisms from the KJV which include the italicized words the KJV translators put in the text and which weren’t part of the original – like, how does ancient “Reformed Egyptian” translated in 1830 English come out word-for-word the same as Hebrew translated into 1611 English?
And how did so much from “View of the Hebrews” get copied into the Book of Mormon?
How do Mormons expect to be married in the afterlife? Matthew22:30
Why should Christians expect spiritually dead people to grasp the Truth? Evidentiary apologetics encourage the saved but do not save the lost.
The best I have heard about marriage is that the Matt. says there will be no marrying or giving in marriage, but that doesn’t affect those who are married prior to death. They will keep the marriage state.
Glenn – In the passage, Christ is asked which of the seven men the women had been married to would be her husband in heaven. He told them they did not understand the Scriptures nor the power of God – that marriage is, as described in Ephesians 5, a metaphor to portray Christ and His church. Such a metaphor will not be needed when His kingdom is fully revealed.
Yeah, I understand that, but I’m just telling you the stuff I’ve been told. Supposedly any marriage not in the temple will not be in the hereafter, so I guess that would include those who Jesus was talking about. Their reasonings, as I’m sure you are aware, get very convoluted.
It’s difficult for me to understand why (the rationale behind) extrabiblical sources of spiritual things being often more readily accepted by otherwise rational people, than the clear and direct teachings of God’s own word, especially when many of the same people who heed such “revelations” would nod in agreement to Gal.1:8.
I have a question for Manfred: you say:
Here’s my question:
Do you not think that giving this evidence for the LDS faith being fraudulent might bring someone around to question what he’s been taught and then search for the truth?
Another question: The evidence about the LDS being fraudulent: how does this encourage Christians?
Glenn, While evidence may cause a Mormon – or other lost person – to question what they believe, nothing but the regeneration of their souls by the Holy Spirit will cause them to believe on Christ. For the Christian, seeing evidence of the lies within cults ought to encourage him as he considers the biblical claims about Christ being the ONLY WAY.
So if they haven’t been previously regenerated, then why should they question their beliefs?
Because, Glenn – it does not take becoming a new creature in Christ to detect lies of Satan and his ilk. Nowhere in the Bible is that taught – that one must be born again to detect false hood; especially rank lies such as the LDS church puts out.
The Bible is clear, however, that one must believe before one can call upon the Lord.
Does one have to be regenerated before they become a Christian? I thought becoming a Christian was what made one regenerated. So if there are no regenerated people in the LDS, then why not let them follow their false God – what makes them any different than the rank atheist on the street who is also following a lie. For that matter, what makes them any different than any other unbeliever?
I guess I thought the purpose of exposing the falsehood of any belief system was two-fold:
1. so that those in the belief system would see the error and seek after the truth and the true God and Christ so as to be saved.
2. So that believers understand the false system and are therefore better equipped to lead the lost to the truth.
Glenn – it is a common misunderstanding to think “becoming a Christian” (eg: believing on Christ) makes one regenerated. But the Scriptures plainly tell us otherwise. The bit I quoted is from Romans 10:14, a rhetorical question that emphatically makes the point that belief precedes one calling upon the Lord. The preceding verse shows that EVERYONE who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved. Calling upon the Lord as noted in myriad places in the Bible reflects the soul of one who knows and believes in the biblical cry to God for mercy, such as the taxpayer in Luke 18.
As previously noted, being freed from a lie is a good thing but does not make one any more likely to seek after God. Romans 3 makes it clear that NOBODY seeks God or does good. They must be born again before they can do so.
Believers are to proclaim the biblical gospel – THAT is the power of salvation to those being saved. Knowing the details of the enemy’s lies is not part of the gospel – it is taught in Scripture as part of the teaching and rebuking elders are obligated to engage in, in the context of the church (the local body of believers).
Forgive me if I’m intruding here, but perhaps I have a case that may help illustrate some of what Manfred is getting at.
I have several sisters. One sister was Catholic, came to see the error of Catholicism, now is convinced she is a Christian (because she “believes” in Christ, and no longer goes to the Catholic church). In that sense her eyes were opened to at least some errors of Catholicism. However, she does not bear fruit of regeneration in her life. She doesn’t want to go to hell, but is unwilling to submit to the Word, and shows no real interest in the things of God. The seed has been sown, but it is not evident that it has fallen on good ground.
One of my other sisters, from all outward appearances seemed to be a Christian. She taught Sunday School, lived “rightly”, read her Bible, went to church weekly, could explain all the major doctrines of Christianity by the Scriptures, and seemed to truly understand what it meant to be a Christian. Then she started listening to Mark Driscoll. She bought into his entire paradigm, his ideologies and his re-interpretations of the Scriptures. She now is a regular blasphemer, has married an unsaved man, and now sees “christianity” through Driscoll’s dark and distorted lenses.
In both cases, knowledge of truth and error wasn’t sufficient. Rebirth is the whole issue. They needed to truly be born again, and evidence of that would manifest differently than what has shown in their lives.
Pilgrim: please forgive me for getting off topic here.
Well, when I look at Rom. 10:14, I see a series of questions that go in descending order. So if we put them in ascending order, it would go like this:
“How can they preach unless they are sent” The answer is that they can’t. So the need is therefore to send.
“How can they hear without someone preaching to them?” They can’t, which is why a preacher must be sent so they can hear.
“And how can the believe in the one of whom they have not heard?” They can’t, which is why the preacher must be sent to tell them the good news about Christ and salvation so that they CAN believe what they hear.
“How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in?” They can’t. But, when the preacher is sent to preach the Word, now they can hear the about the one they need to believe in, and by so doing they can believe in him, and then once they believe in him they can call on him.
But my real question goes back to your original statement about evidentiary apologetics not being for the unsaved. If there are Mormons – like I was – who see errors of the faith and elect to seek the truth and find the real God, have they then been regenerated in order to do so?
I fully understand and agree with what you said. But that doesn’t answer my question about Manfred’s statement.
Glenn, A Mormon (or anyone else) who sees the error of his ways CANNOT elect himself unto salvation. Knowing LDS theology to be wrong does not save – it merely moves one from that error. Man is born spiritually dead and cannot elect himself nor choose to be saved. Anyone who seeks after God has been born again – that’s the point of the passage you rightly examined from Romans 10.
So, you are saying that before I became a Christian I was born again? As a Mormon I one day prayed that God would reveal Himself to me. Within about six months I found a tract about problems with Mormonism, and I began researching the faith. The more I researched the more I found problematic until after almost two years I determined I wanted nothing more to do with the LDS. But I still kept seeking the true God until about 1.5 years later I agreed to do some Bible study with the Navigators. Studying with them led me to see the true Gospel, the true God and Christ, and then I “confess[ed] with [my] mouth ‘Jesus is Lord,” and believe[d] in [my] heart that God raised him from the dead.”
So are you saying then that I was regenerated before I asked God to reveal himself to me?
You understand me correctly, Glenn. A spiritually dead man must be born again before he can have the gift of faith take hold in his soul. Saving faith cannot take root in bad soil.
I sort of thought that’s what you were saying, but I wanted to make sure. I vehemently disagree, but that certainly explains your statement. Thank you for the explanation and clarification.
Glenn – I figured you would, as you have clear to me via email that you are a “die-hard” Arminian. May God have mercy on you and open your eyes to the unseen work He did before you realized it.
Glenn I hope you’ll prayerfully consider the loving instruction being provided to you by Manfred and DavidW. On more than one occasion here at DefCon you’ve evidenced what I can only describe as a simmering hatred of the Biblical doctrines of grace, so let me speak very plainly here – that sort of heart attitude is indicative of a very dangerous spiritual problem.
Coram Deo, et al
You have misrepresented me. I am not an Arminian. I am a Christian who follows the Bible and not the teachings of Arminius or Calvin; I never heard of these people nor their teachings until I had been a Christian for many years. I learned my theology straight from Scripture. Nor do I have a “simmering hatred” of any true Biblical doctrines. I find it to be rank arrogance to for you to say I have a “dangerous spiritual problem” because I disagree with TULIPs.
I don’t know why it is I have to be vilified just because I say man has a choice whether to follow God or not. I personally find it to be illogical to say a person has to be regenerated to be regenerated (to be born again before you can be born again), yet I do not vilify you. Nor do I say you have a “simmering hatred” of Biblical doctrines, nor do I accuse any of you of having a “dangerous spiritual problem” because you follow the teachings of Augustine and Calvin. I thought there was more civility here than that.
Really, and seriously, we seem to only disagree as to whether man has a choice to follow God or whether God makes his choice for him. That doesn’t make me a heretic or having a “dangerous spiritual problem.”
Playing the victim card still doesn’t earn you a pass around here, try again. Need I remind you of this exchange?
Your own words point to your hypocrisy. In one breath you claim that you are being “misrepresented” and “vilified”, then in the next breath you accuse your theological opponents of “following the teachings of Augustine and Calvin” in contradistinction to your own alleged “Bible-only” purity. Frankly it’s amazing to me that you have the audacity to repeatedly and grossly misrepresent the actual position held by the authors of this blog – a position which your comments plainly demonstrate that you know next to nothing about – while simultaneously whining about “civility”!
And please point out one instance where you have been accused of being a heretic on this site, just one. Let me save you some time, you haven’t been.
In all this you manifest a dangerous spiritual problem, yet you’re among friends here who want to help you even as you spurn the offers.
Let’s see, I am accused of being a die-hard Arminian, accused of simmering hatred for the scriptures, and accused of having a very dangerous spiritual problems, and when I complain about that, suddenly I’m playing the victim card?!?
No, you never used the word “heretic,” but if someone has a dangerous spiritual problem and a simmering hatred for biblical doctrines, what else would call that person?
To call me an Arminian is definitely misrepresenting me because I never read his teachings until about ten years ago, and even then only a smattering. I don’t care about his teachings.
When I said I was being vilified I was referring to the charges of my spiritual condition and my hatred for the Scriptures. I do not consider that civil at all.
This blog does indeed teach the doctrines of Augustine and Calvin, because you will not find in the Scriptures where man has no free will choice to follow God. Only in Augustine and Calvin will you find that. IT is only in them you will find a person needs to be born again – regenerated – before you become born again as a Christian.
In your sinful, stubborn spiritual pride you will continue to refuse the truth of Scripture on this subject until God opens your eyes to it, but please do keep visiting here often. We’ll tell you the truth instead of tickling your ears.
I would submit it is your sinful, stubborn pride which refuses the truth of the Scripture on this subject. I submit it is your ears that get tickled with your “doctrines of Grace”. I think I’ll drop this from my RSS feed – the Calvinism is too heavy in it.
Of course you would, Glenn. It’s hard to kick against the goads.
When asked if he would see John Wesley in Heaven, George Whitefield replied “No, I won’t. I believe his mansion shall be so close to the throne of God I would be lucky to get a glimpse of his back.”
I am interested to see the errors of Catholicism your sister discovered! Can you give examples?